469 foreign-trained doctors, dentists fail professional exams

No fewer than 469 foreign-trained doctors and dentists have failed the competence examination set by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

Chairman of MDCN, Prof. Waziri Abba, said this at the induction ceremony of the foreign-trained doctors who were successful in the examination, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

MDCN explained that the examination which comprises of written and clinical was meant to test the acclaimed competencies, knowledge and capacities of the candidates before they are licensed to practice in Nigeria.

It insisted that every doctor-graduate from any foreign institution is expected to pass the examination, written and clinical, in order to be licensed to practice in Nigeria.

He added that a total of 826 medical and dental candidates appeared for the examination, out of which 341 medical doctors representing 41.3 per cent and 16 dental surgeons representing 53.3 per cent passed, giving a grand total of 357.

He lamented that the overall percentage pass was lower than the previous one held in June 2020, at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State.

He, however, reiterated the necessity of conducting the examination which was meant to assess the quality of medical and dental students trained outside the country.

He confirmed that the examination was transparently conducted with the support of JAMB that handled the Computer Based Test (CBT) aspect of the examination.

He said that efforts are being made by MDCN and NUC to increase the carrying capacities of the existing medical and dental colleges in the country, thus encouraging both government and private individuals to establish new medical and dental schools.

He recalled that MDCN had considered the poor performance rate at the previous assessment examinations for foreign-trained medical and dental graduates, and proposed a mandatory six months clinical attachment with one Teaching Hospital in each of the geo-political zones of the country to improve the quality of the foreign-trained graduates.

 “But the public outcry that greeted the plan made the MDCN make a U-turn and had completely hands-off any remedial programme. Future candidates for the examination are, however, at liberty to undertake attachment training in the institution of their choice.

“The MDCN’s main intention has always been to improve the level of performance of the candidates, but also to improve their skills and knowledge that will make them good and safe practitioners.”

He appealed to state governments to upgrade at least three hospitals in their respective state to standards suitable for housemanship training and recruit the required number of consultants to supervise them. “This will create enough spaces for housemanship every year.”

Registrar of MDCN, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, who administered the Physician’s Pledge to the new doctors, warned them against lobbying for posting, stating there are limited posting opportunities.

He said: “For instance, Federal Medical Center (FMC), Abuja, has 48 slots for house officers; National Hospital has 48 slots for medical and 12 for dentists, while University of Abuja Teaching Hospital has 38 slots.”

He reminded the new doctors that they are not yet members of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), hence they are not permitted to join in any form of industrial action by ARD members.

He strongly advised them to be guided by the ethics of the medical profession, with a reminder that the MDCN disciplinary tribunal is also strict in the enforcement of medical laws.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mahmuda Mamman, congratulated the inductees and advised them to carefully study the operational manual and rules of medical engagements in order to know and operate within their limitations.

He described the medical profession as a “noble” profession, hence the need for medical doctors to be at their best at all times, prioritising the health and well-being of patients notwithstanding age, social status or any other factor.

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